I scream, you scream...
Wednesday, February 25, 2009

...we all scream for ice cream!!
(especially when they realized the cones weren't real and they weren't taking them home).

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

They're just so darn cute. I could pinch their little cheeks all day!

Nobody Does It Better

You can't beat the Pacific Northwest when it comes to a lot of things, like wine, coffee, beer, and seafood (just to name a few). But when it comes to cornbread, they have nothin' on good old Shawnee Mills (made right here in Oklahoma). Seriously. It's impossible to find cornbread in Oregon that doesn't make you cringe when you take a bite.

I went to the store this morning and nearly wiped out their entire selection of mexican-style cornbread to take back to Oregon. Love it.

Buckaroo Birthday!
Monday, February 16, 2009

I can't say that I've ever driven 2 hours just to go to a birthday party. But this wasn't just any birthday party. It was a bash designed especially for buckin' little broncos (like my Wyatt), and dainty little cowgirls (like my Avery).

(Hey, no one said anything about being graceful...
especially in 3-inch heels!)

As usual, Wyatt made himself at home as he gave all of the guys a good "long time no see" tackle (ordered directly from Daddy). Then he moved on to his favorite pasttime--aggravating and tormenting little tots by sabotaging their play.

I'm fairly certain it wasn't this poor kid's idea to drag 42 lbs of
dead weight across the gymnasium floor like a human dust mop.

Being the pro he thinks he is with birthday parties, Wyatt had no problem taking the reigns as Party Coordinator. He was quite vocal (more like bossy) as to the progression of events. Present-opening first...then cake...then pinata...and that was that.

Overseeing all cake-cutting details
(and hoping for a little frosting to flake off the spatula and strategically land inside his mouth).

It wasn't Wyatt's first experience with a pinata, so he was well aware of the contents that lay within the oversized cowboy boot. While he gave a valiant effort, I'm afraid he still needs a couple of years of practice to earn the coveted title of Sugar High Hero.

Meanwhile...back at the ranch...Avery found herself trading her cowgirl hat in for a tiara, for she decided it was much more fun to be treated like royalty.

Oh, you didn't know that princesses these days
come with their very own scooter chauffeur?

She also fell head over heels for a little prince named Nathan. They spent most of the party on the bleachers, where he was trying to impress her with talk of his mad basketball skills.

Grant and Amanda put on such an amazing party for their 3-year-old little boy, Evan, who is just as sweet as sugar. And I'm so glad it worked out so that we were able to celebrate such a special day with him.

We miss not living near some of our dearest friends, but as is the case with most genuine friendships, it takes no time at all to just pick up where we left off. And watching our kids interact and develop their own friendships with one another is absolutely priceless.

The girls that keep the friendships of our husbands alive.
(Courtney, Me, Avery, Amanda, and little Lyla Jo--isn't she so precious?)

Wine Selection: Foxglove Chardonnay
Personal Rating: **Fair**
Comments: I think I've realized that I'm not a big fan of unoaked chardonnays.


BREAKING NEWS...My husband actually has a romantic side. Sometimes.
Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine's Day has never been a big celebrated holiday for Eric and me. In fact, the last time we ever attempted anything romantic, we ended up with some very wretched food poisoning.

It was our first Valentine's Day as a married couple (2004), so love was certainly in the air. We lived in a cozy apartment on the 26th floor of a high rise building overlooking the Arkansas River (which may have actually had water in it at the time, now that I think about it). That was the Valentine's Day in which Eric drove me out to watch the sunset over the lake and gifted me with a complete outfit PLUS accessories from my favorite boutique. Blown away at his gesture, I didn't think the evening could get any more romantic. But as we walked through the door of our apartment, I was stunned at the sight of what had to be at least 50 lit candles lining our insanely long entryway. My first thought was , I have married the sweetest man on earth!, which was quickly followed by, Holy crap! Can you say fire hazard?

Apparently, while we were watching the sunset, Eric's parents were transforming our apartment into something out of a romance novel and setting up what was our favorite meal at the time--crab cakes and sushi with a nice sauvignon blanc. Needless to say, after 36 hours of trying to rid ourselves of the poison we ingested during that meal, I have yet to eat a single crab cake or sushi roll, much less celebrate the overly commercialized holiday of love.

This Valentine's Day, I went to a 3-year-old's birthday party and caught up with old friends while Eric spent the one weekend he has off this month taking Step 3 of his board exams. So, not much romance for either of us. In fact, I didn't even speak to Eric on the phone until after the kiddos and I arrived home after a long, but exciting, day in Oklahoma City and discovered that he had sent me flowers.

I know...I didn't believe it either! Since it had been 6 years since he'd ever done such a thing (bringing home a bouquet of flowers strategically placed on the beer aisle after work--while it is a sweet gesture--doesn't quite qualify as romantic), I thought for sure Eric's parents got the flowers for me! :-)

Even though I generally don't get excited about Valentine's Day, it's never really easy to be without the one you love. I have already found myself getting really "home"sick even though we are at home in Oklahoma. I'm sure the kids and I will have such a great time during our last week here, but it sure will be nice to be back in Portland so we can be a family again.

Happy (belated...oops) Valentines Day, Eric! We miss you.

COUSIN IT stopped by for a visit today.

You know you're getting older...
Saturday, February 14, 2009

...when your idea of a great Valentine's Day includes trying to win the heart of a 19-month-old little girl.

I'm quite certain that if Eric's best friends, Kevin and Grant were asked five years ago if this would be even remotely possible, they would have answered without hesitation, "Not a chance!"

It's amazing how quickly this little girl can wrap a couple of daddies around her finger.

Wine Selection: The Guilty Shiraz
Personal Rating: ****Excellent****
Comments: This is the first shiraz I've ever rated as excellent. It really packs a punch, as the front is loaded with a ton of flavor (and cherry at that, which I usually don't like), but it's so easy to drink by itself.


This could quite possibly be the early stages of an addictive personality disorder.
Friday, February 13, 2009

Chock it up to faulty DNA, I suppose.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wyatt's 18-month obsession with trains is not showing any signs of slowing. In fact, it appears to be revving into maximum overdrive, as evidenced by the very unique physiological response that occurs when he first catches a glimpse of a beloved choo choo. His body noticably stiffens from excitement and trembles in anticipation, as he desperately pleads for an opportunity to lay his meaty little hands on such a fine piece of machinery.

My sister-in-law heard about a toy train shop in Sand Springs and thought it would be a perfect afternoon outing for Wyatt and Avery. Electric trains blanketed the walls, some of them dating back to the early 1900's. Admiring them from afar came easily for the adults, but it presented a moderate degree of frustration (more like devastation) for Wyatt as he tried to process in his 3-year-old mind why he was not allowed to play with or examine the locomotives more closely.

Avery and Wyatt with
Uncle Brett and Aunt Stephanie

But things started to look up as the owner began to couple up some train cars and send them into motion on the tracks--which twisted through towns, climbed mountains, and chugged through tunnels.
I think we were all captivated by the demonstration, but like all good things, it eventually came to an end.

"The End." For a kid with such an insatiable appetite for excitement, they are the most devasting words that could possbily roll off a person's toungue. He made it known immediately that he wasn't going down without a fight.

With tears flowing like rivers, and screams violent enough to pierce an ear,
he pressed his distraught little face into the display window, as if to get one
final kiss from his true love before being horrifically ripped from her arms forever.

Needless to say, we were graced with his melodic protest the entire drive home. The frequent kicks to the back of my seat? Those were just a bonus. The dodging of flying socks coming from the back seat? Well, that was just hilarious. Poor kid. Two days later, he still isn't over it.

She MAY want to consider sleeping with one eye open.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009

60 Years
Monday, February 9, 2009

Eric's grandparents, Hayden and Odessa celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary this month. 60 YEARS! In a society which gives married couples a less than 5% chance of ever achieving such status (US Census Bureau), I'd say this is certainly an occasion worthy of celebration and (much to their chagrin) deserving of a little recognition.

In the 8 years I've known this lovely couple, I've observed nothing but a genuine love for one another. Hayden drives Odessa around town in their old '84 Chevy Impala and always--I mean ALWAYS--warms up the car for her on cold winter nights, which I think is so incredibly sweet (Eric, I said "incredibly sweet". Pay attention). There is such a unique sweetness about Hayden that attracts the likeness of just about everyone--even Avery (that's pretty big).

Odessa, on the other hand, keeps Hayden (and the rest of us) abreast of all the goings-on in relation to politics (loves the radio talk shows), the daily affairs of neighbors, and the stores which are advertising the best deals on laundry detergent. She also makes the greatest Thanksgiving Day stuffing, even though she'll proclaim every time that it's not fit to eat. Odessa has just as much (or even more) spunk as anyone my own age. There truly isn't a dull moment when in their presence, and we often get a few belly laughs out of deal.

This is a couple that not only loves one another, but everyone around them. They have served as such an amazing example for their own children who have sustained long, happy marriages, that it has naturally spilled over into the very young marriages of their grandchildren pictured on the wall behind them.

I can only hope that in 55 more years, Eric and I will be equally as happy and functional in our own marriage (as soon as he figures out that I'm always right) as are Hayden and Odessa.

Congratulations on 60 years, Grandma and Papa Crismon! We all love you very much.

Stephanie, Brett, Hayden, Hayley, Odessa,
Avery, Wyatt, Me, D'Anna, and Donna

Wine Selection: 39 Cabernet Sauvignon
Personal Rating: ***Good***
Comments: Very nice cab with soft tannins.


She's got a bit of warming up to do.
Friday, February 6, 2009

Just as suspected, our flight into Tulsa was nothing short of horrendous. But we survived. And we now have a plentiful supply of lollipops, brownies, and other goodies that sympathetic passengers shoved our way in an effort to console the sick and miserable children sitting on either side of me (thank God for grandmas!). I tried not to claim the little mongrols, but my attempts proved futile as they climbed on me like monkeys, clung to me like koala bears, and incessantly cried, "Mommy!" I'm just so thankful the grandparents were waiting just outside the terminal when we arrived because I was mere seconds away from breaking down and crying for my own Mommy.

Wyatt saw Eric's parents and, wouldn't you know, was miraculously healed...for a couple of hours, at least. Avery, on the other hand, resorted to snobbery by giving everyone a "once-over" before dramatically turning her head away from anyone who gave her even the slightest glance. Needless to say, she was not very happy about where she ended up after spending several grueling hours on an airplane. After all of that hard work, she must have been expecting Mickey Mouse or something. Her attitude didn't improve much throughout the evening, as she repeatedly grabbed my face, turned it toward her own, and demanded, "Shoes on and GO!" And if no one was going to put her shoes on for her, then by golly, she was going to do it herself.

She still has a little warming up to do, but we're definitely making progress. We've found that as long as I'm not around for her to cling to, then she'll play and interact with anyone. Umm...no worries...I can certainly arrange that. Anyone up for coffee or drinks after work? Boy, living close to the grandparents really has its perks, doesn't it? Makes me sometimes rethink this whole residency-in-Portland-having-kids-away-from-family thing.

She has a soft spot for stuffed animals.
Ask her to hug a human...not a chance.

Wine Selection: Black Beret Grenache Syrah
Personal Rating: ***Good***
Comments: I thought this was a very smooth, well balanced wine. I typically like complex wines that leave a unique and lasting impression, but I really enjoyed this one. (Eric, as a now pretentious Chianti drinker, you wouldn't appreciate this wine. Too fruity for you, my dear. Ha!).


BIG SHOT of the Week
Wednesday, February 4, 2009

It seems as though I've been neglecting the Big Shot Series for the past few weeks, but I promise to make up for it when we return from our trip to Oklahoma. We leave for the airport at 5:30 a.m. tomorrow morning bound for Tulsa. I was hoping to be in bed by now, but as luck would have it, I have a child who can't stop coughing long enough to fall asleep. Oh yes, I will be THAT mom on the airplane--the one with snotty-nosed kids hacking up a lung, exposing every other person on the flight to the same disgusting germs. Ah, yes. I despise moms like me. Not really. I pity them. I hope such pity is granted to me tomorrow. Let's just say I have a quadruple venti espresso of some sort already calling my name. Sigh...

To hold you over until we recover from The Plague, here is a beautiful photo Eric took of Mt. Rainier in August 2007.

It's a shame that such a massive, beautiful mountain remains hidden behind the clouds most days out of the year. In fact, the first two out of three days we visited the National Park, the cloud cover was so thick that we were driving around with absolutely no clue of the enormity of what stood before us. Fortunately, on the third day we were blessed with blue skies, allowing us to ooh and ahh over its beauty and actually come close to capturing it on camera (although pictures never do it justice).




My Wine Personality:
For the most part I’m a chardonnay, as I consider myself to exhibit a somewhat sunny and mellow disposition (most of the time), but because I find a tremendous amount of joy out of showering my two kids with hugs and kisses, I also possess the subtle sweetness often found in a riesling. But don’t be fooled. I love a great outdoor adventure and am willing to try anything once. This occasional display of boldness is thought to match that of a cabernet, whereas my appreciation for nature suggests that I have an earthy component to my personality—very characteristic of a merlot. (more)


“Wine rejoices the heart of man and joy is the mother of all virtues.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1771